Sunday, July 27, 2014

Spotlight On...Kara Ayn Napolitano

Name: Kara Ayn Napolitano

Hometown: Santa Cruz, CA (I was born in NYC and lived in Queens for a while but moved to beautiful California when I was small. And now I'm right back in Queens. Ha.)

Education: BA from Marymount Manhattan College, Theatre Directing Major, Music Minor

Favorite Credits: Managing Artistic Director of Writopia Lab's Worldwide Plays Festival - an ongoing festivals of plays and musicals by writers age 7 - 18, performed and directed by adult professionals; Favorite of my produced plays: Prohibition Blues (musical, Under St Marks), Life Recital (musical, Roy Arias and Theater for the New City).

Why theater?: It follows me! I tried to leave it after college but it came after me in the form of director (and friend) Isaac Byrne asking me to be his assistant director on a play called Fresh Kills at 59E59. I'm glad he brought me back. I love telling stories, and I love creating really solid theatrical experiences for both production teams and audience members. I need it. When I leave theater, I feel totally empty.

Tell us about Leah in Vegas: Leah in Vegas is, on the surface, a young mother's attempt to reclaim her life after making a controversial mistake. But it's also about facing the mistakes you've made and learning to live with the consequences, even if you don't feel you deserve it. It is also so very much about female relationships, especially mother and daughter, but also best friends and even lovers.

What inspired you to write Leah in Vegas?:
I was intrigued by Vegas. This idea of being down and out or hitting rock bottom in Vegas was enticing me. It's such a glamorous, glitzy place, but has this darker side to it. It's a place where you can make mistakes and get into deep trouble. I was also interested in how someone might struggle to reintegrate into life after making a mistake that changed everything.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I have to admit, I love a traditional play. I love sitting in a theater, staring at a stage as the lights going down and being transported into another world. I definitely appreciate site specific, immersive and experimental pieces, but there's something about those lights going doing and that story being played out in front of me that moves me every time. As far as who inspires me, the young playwrights I work with at Writopia Lab never fail. The younger ones write with such freedom and as wild as their plays might get, they tend to be extremely enjoyable. The teen writers and so freaking smart it blows my mind. I've seen 15 year olds take complete control of their audiences through their words. It makes me excited for the future of the theater.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I'm excited to potentially take a workshop with Lucy Thurber in the fall. I really enjoy her style of writing. It's about real people that I feel like I know and she makes me feel so invested in them.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Cabaret. I saw it years ago, and recently saw it again. I forgot how freaking good it is. Damn.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: A young Kate Winslet in a movie called "Leaving Queens" (It's already a musical but I would still have to use that title.)

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: "Law and Order, SVU". AT LEAST two episodes in a row, right before bed. I love unraveling the mysteries of who dun it!

What’s the most played song on your iTunes?: "25 or 6 to 4" by Chicago. That song makes life better.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: A real hippie. I'm kind of half one right now. I'd be an organic farmer. Yoga/wellness coach. Animal rescue. I'd live in the woods and have a house full of cats:).

What’s up next?:
Writopia's festival is ongoing. I look forward to helping produce more plays by young playwrights this fall! And I'm starting a new play called In Search of Elaina about going home and facing the people and the life you ran away from. Then it's readings, workshops, submissions, repeat:).